Tuesday,March 1, 2011  
   Volume 81 - Issue 9 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“We are not asking for anything more than other employees at Teck mines already enjoy.”
- Chris Nand  
- Local 9346   
Steelworkers Union President   


A local artist group known as Art Works for Wild Spaces has recently taken up the practice of “yarn bombing” in order to get their message out to the people of the Crowsnest Pass.
The group was started by local artists who value the views and landscapes of Southern Alberta, and oppose the development of projects, such as the proposed Micrex magnetite open pit mine near Burmis, which could irreparably damage the landscape and wildlife habitats in the area.
The group is currently getting the message out by dressing trees and boulders in environmentally significant areas, such as Flumerfelt Park, near the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre, and near Hwy 3 in Coleman, with knitted afghan blankets, an art form known as yarn bombing.
The practice of yarn bombing, also known as guerrilla knitting or yarn storming, is a form of street art which has been utilized in major urban centres for several years as a way to personalize cold or sterile outdoor public spaces, by decorating bus benches, light poles, street signs and other structures with knitting.
It is thought to have originated in Texas, and has since spread to cities like Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Montreal, Seattle, Portland, Boston, New York City, and throughout the rest of the continent and much of the world.
It is a passive form of graffiti which can last for years, and the instillations do not physically deface the structures they adorn, and can be easily removed.
“We started talking about this idea in late September and it gathered momentum,” said AWWS member Barbara Amos.
In January, the group was comprised of four artists – Amos, Karen Tamminga-Patton, Lynnette Jessop, and Nichole Yanota – and has since expanded as other local artists have become involved.
“We use art works to highlight issues around our wild spaces,” said Amos. “We felt that we needed to keep a focus on some concerns in the area, but that we needed to do something engaging and something that added an element of fun.”
Amos said the group has also been involved in writing letters to different levels of government and open house organizers to get their views across.
She said the idea to use yarn bombing as a medium to portray the message came about after a brainstorming session earlier this year, and was met with instant consensus.
“All the metaphors were there,” said Amos. “Wrapping the trees and rocks in something handmade, warm, and cozy made a protective statement about our environment.”
“It was silly, it made us laugh, and that is always a good thing,” she said.
She added that the group is always looking for new additions, and that they are working to build a community which will be active and involved in local concerns.
“We want to knit together a community of people who care about our wild spaces,” said Amos. “We want to draw attention to a dialogue that needs to gather momentum.”
“The wild spaces around the Crowsnest Pass will only remain wild if we are aware, involved and thoughtful about them,” she said.
Amos said there are many ideas and agendas as to how to develop the area, and that the group wants to make sure the voice of the wild spaces, and those who wish to protect them, is heard.
“We are hoping that in some way, we can develop that voice, and create a chorus – a visual song – that is fun, as well as meaningful.”
For more information about the group, to learn about upcoming yarn bombing events, or to become involved, visit artworksforwildspaces.com.
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   Volume 81 - Issue 9 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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